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Tim Lomas: Wellbeing in non-WEIRD Countries

  • 06 Jun 2023
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Zoom (link will be in your confirmation email)

Registration is closed

It is increasingly acknowledged that wellbeing research has historically been centered on people from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and developed--WEIRD--countries. Consequently, there is a real need for scholarship that is more cross-cultural and global to better understand and represent the experiences and values of people across the world. Fortunately, there are already existing efforts that meet these aims, such as the Gallup World Poll, which covers a majority of countries globally. This talk discusses some recent findings from the poll, and especially a recent "Global Wellbeing Initiative" that aims to develop items for the poll that represent perspectives on wellbeing that may be more highly valued or emphasized in non-Western cultures, which has resulted in a particular focus on balance and harmony. Significantly though, even if these topics have historically received less emphasis or attention in some cultures (including the West), the findings show that these are valued and experienced across the world.

Tim Lomas, PhD, is a Psychology Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and part of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University. Tim’s main research focus is exploring cross-cultural perspectives on wellbeing, especially concepts and practices deemed ‘non-Western.’ Current projects include: assisting with the Global Flourishing Study, a longitudinal study of 240,000 people in 22 countries; helping lead the Global Wellbeing Initiative, a collaboration with Gallup to develop and analyse new items for their World Poll that reflect non-Western views of wellbeing; creating a lexicography and conceptual map of ‘untranslatable’ words relating to wellbeing; and leading a project funded by the Templeton Foundation to look into Muslim perspectives on wellbeing. Before entering academia, Tim spent seven years as a professional musician, while also working part-time as a psychiatric nursing assistant. Tim completed his PhD at the University of Westminster in 2012, where his thesis focused on the impact of meditation on men's mental health (combining cognitive neuroscience, narrative, and ethnographic analysis). From 2013 to 2020 Tim was a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London. Since 2013, Tim has published over 100 papers and 12 books relating to wellbeing, involving topics/approaches including linguistics, semiotics, art, emotional dialectics, balance/harmony, systems theory, social theory, politics, gender, and Buddhism. His latest book, entitled Happiness, was published in 2023 by MIT Press as part of their Essential Knowledge series.

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